Links to the texts of the most important agreements are included here, along with texts of example MTAs.
7.9.1 Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB)
For full text, see the webpublication
7.9.2 The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR)
For the full text, see the webpublication:
7.9.3 Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) examples
Here are examples taken from the following organisations.
Oxford Forestry Institute (OFI)
(Extract from MTA)
"The Oxford Forestry Institute (OFI) has, for more than 30 years, been involved in collection of seed from wild populations of trees. This seed has been used for distribution to researchers in the tropics in order to evaluate performance of a variety of tree species over a range of publications and to investigate patterns of genetic variation. The approach of OFI is to support free exchange of seed and information between researchers in order to improve knowledge of the potential for various tree species to provide goods and services.
In response to current international interest in issues relating to transfer of germplasm OFI has recognised the need to formalise agreements with seed recipients in the form of a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). The MTA is designed to promote scientific exchange while at the same time recognising the responsibilities of seed recipients towards the countries which donated seed for experimentation. Furthermore, as most of the seed distributed by OFI is not indigenous to the recipient country, the MTA also highlights the need for extreme caution when considering the need to request seed. The following guidelines are designed to assist in this respect.
(Warning: It is important that seed recipients consider the implications of introducing exotic species in relation to the potential threat of invasiveness. It is recommended that seed is requested only after consideration of these points.
• Introductions should only be considered if clear and well-defined benefits to man or natural communities can be foreseen and demonstrated.
• Introductions should only be considered if no native species is suitable for the purpose for which the introduction is being made.
• Introductions should not be made into pristine or semi-natural habitats, reserves of any kind or their buffer zones and, in most cases, oceanic islands.
• Introductions should not be made until risks of invasion have been assessed based on available data, including the autecology of the species, conditions of the area of introduction, reports of weediness from other areas, and the likelihood of interspecific hybridization with closely related species.
• Introductions should be made initially in small, closely monitored field trials under quarantine conditions. Monitoring needs to include assessment of seed production and dispersal and natural regeneration into surrounding areas. Collection of seed from trials by station workers or visitors needs to be controlled by harvesting all seed before it ripens, or removing flowers.)
Material Transfer Agreement for Seed Order:
This organisation agrees:
• not to claim ownership over the seed received or its progeny, nor to seek intellectual property rights or plant variety rights over that genetic material or information produced from work in which it is involved
• to ensure that any subsequent person or institution to whom it makes samples of the seed available is bound by the same provision
• to manage the seed and any trees grown from it in such a way as to minimise as far as possible any potential threat from the species becoming an invasive weed
• that the Oxford Forestry Institute does not accept liability for any consequences resulting from the use of the seed."
Danida Forest Seed Centre (DFSC)
(Extract from MTA)
" Since the establishment of Danida Forest Seed Centre (DFSC) in 1969, the centre has been involved in collection of forest tree seed throughout the tropics in collaboration with national institutes, FAO and other partners.
DFSC supports free exchange of tree seed and information between researchers and practitioners, and seed stored at the DFSC seed-bank is available, free of charge, for species and provenance trials, establishment of seed sources, conservation stands and research purposes. DFSC encourages the sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from utilization of its seed.
The majority of the seed in the DFSC seed bank has been collected prior to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of 29th December 1993 coming into force.
Seed acquired after this date was collected with prior consent from the country of origin and with the understanding that it could be made available for any research or breeding purposes.
Seed can only be issued by DFSC if the recipient complies with the conditions specified in this agreement, regardless of whether the seed was collected before or after the above mentioned date.
Rules for the future exchange of germplasm for food and agriculture are currently being discussed in the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, in co-ordination with the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Depending on the results of these negotiations, the contents of this material transfer agreement may be changed in the future to conform to a revision of FAO’s International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources and/or to internationally agreed standards.
In the meantime, DFSC grants delivery of seed from its seed bank under the conditions specified overleaf.
The recipient hereby agrees
not to claim ownership nor to seek intellectual property rights or plant variety rights over the genetic material received or material derived hereof, unless in agreement with the appropriate authority in the country of origin;
to ensure that any person or institution to whom it makes samples subsequently available is bound by the same provisions and undertakes to pass on the same obligations to future recipients;
to make publicly available any relevant performance data produced by the recipient arising from the characterization and evaluation of the received material;
to assume full responsibility for complying with the recipient nation’s quarantine and biosafety regulations and rules governing the import or release of genetic material;
that Danida Forest Seed Centre does not accept liability for any consequences resulting from the use of the seed."
Australian Tree Seed Centre (ATSC)
(Extract from MTA)
" CSIRO's Australian Tree Seed Centre collects and maintains germplasm and information on Australia's flora for the benefit of Australians. The Centre conducts research, or assists others to conduct research, which adds to collective knowledge of the performance and utility of Australian forest genetic resources.
Australia has signed and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity and pursuant to this Convention, the Australian Tree Seed Centre is committed to "the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources" as well as facilitating access to genetic resources under Australian ownership on 'mutually agreed terms'.
Use of the germplasm in this consignment from CSIRO ("Material") is subject to this Material Transfer Agreement. The terms, obligations and acknowledgments of the Agreement itemised below apply once the Recipient removes the Material from its packaging.
The Recipient acknowledges that CSIRO provides the Material to the Recipient solely for the purposes of growing and testing for wood and non-pharmaceutical products. It is mutually agreed that the Recipient will:
acknowledge the origin of the Material in all published and distributed information;
allow CSIRO access to assessment data and information on the characterisation procedures and performance of the Material;
allow CSIRO access, for research purposes, to germplasm samples from plants grown from Material included in this consignment;
take reasonable steps to ensure that these conditions are met in any subsequent deployment of the Material; and
use the Material at its own risk.
Nothing in this Agreement affects existing proprietary intellectual property rights in respect of the Material."
International Poplar Commission (IPC) (Working Party on Genetics, Conservation and Improvement)
(Extract from MTA)
AGREEMENT ON RESTRICTIONS TO THE USE
OF REPRODUCTIVE MATERIAL
OF EXPERIMENTAL POPLAR/WILLOW CLONES
EXCHANGED BETWEEN RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS
With regard to the need for cooperation in the field of poplar/willow clonal selection in order to spread the results of breeding activities to the benefit of both growers and users in the general interest of the whole Community, the exchange of genetic material, especially of clones at an advanced stage of selection, is to be encouraged.
On the other hand, considering the high costs of breeding and the need to safeguard the breeder's right to protect his achievements in order to obtain a return to his investment, the use made of exchanged material must in no way imperil the possibility of eventually securing the protection in any country in which the breeder might ask for it.
THE OWNER'S STATEMENT
The undersigned, representing the ______ (henceforth referred to as THE OWNER) will send reproductive material of the clones, of the type and in the quantity listed below to the _______ (henceforth referred to as THE RECIPIENT), after the following statement has been signed for acceptance by a representative whose signature is binding for THE RECIPIENT. Any use of the material exchanged or of any material derived from it different from those listed below is to be considered unauthorized, unless written case-by-case authorization has been conceded by THE OWNER.
The undersigned furthermore declares that THE OWNER has exclusive ownership rights on all the clones listed below.
Signature of THE OWNER
LIST OF REPRODUCTIVE MATERIAL TO BE EXCHANGED
RECIPIENT'S AND OWNER'S OBLIGATIONS
The undersigned, representing THE OWNER and THE RECIPIENT, agree to respectively supply and receive the reproductive material listed above and to observe the following rules and restrictions for its use and for the use of any material derived from it (henceforth collectively referred to as THE MATERIAL).
1. THE MATERIAL will be used for experimental purposes only and under the direct control of THE RECIPIENT. However, the following experimental uses are not authorized:
 none (that is: only commercial use is forbidden);
 genetic manipulation (e.g. genetic transformation);
 use as parent in breeding programmes;
 any use different from what is described in a detailed experimental plan produced by THE RECIPIENT, approved by THE OWNER and enclosed to the present Agreement of which it is part.
2. THE MATERIAL will not be ceded to third parties, not even for experimental purposes. Field trials can be established on third parties' land only if THE RECIPIENT has secured exclusive rights of use of THE MATERIAL, by means of an appropriate contract, excluding the land owner from any use of THE MATERIAL for the whole duration of the experiments and forbidding him to reproduce it from plants or parts of plants that may have been left in the field after the conclusion of the trial. In any case, at the end of the trial, every reasonable effort must be made to remove from the field all the material that might be used for vegetative propagation.
3. In case of trials established on third parties' land, THE RECIPIENT will not disclose the identity of THE MATERIAL to the land owner. In case labels are placed in the fields, THE MATERIAL will be referred to by means of codes whose meaning will in no way permit identification to third parties. THE OWNER must be informed of the correspondence between the codes and the original denomination of THE MATERIAL.
4. A field experiment is to be considered concluded when the plants have been physically removed from the land.
5. THE RECIPIENT will take every reasonable precaution in order to prevent unauthorized propagation of THE MATERIAL, will prosecute the responsible of such an act and will inform THE OWNER thereof.
6. THE RECIPIENT will keep record of all the field trials and laboratory experiments in which THE MATERIAL is employed, and will put all this information at the disposal of THE OWNER upon request.
7. Further vegetative propagation of THE MATERIAL by THE RECIPIENT:
 is admitted, but THE RECIPIENT will have to keep accurate record of it and will put this information at the disposal of THE OWNER upon request;
 is not admitted, unless a written case-by-case authorization, specifying quantity and type of the propagation material to be employed, is obtained from THE OWNER.
 is not admitted; further needs for research purposes will require a new Agreement.
8. THE RECIPIENT will be the sole owner of and the only responsible for the scientific results of the experiments. However THE RECIPIENT will disclose the results to THE OWNER, upon request, even before their publication. In case THE OWNER makes use of this information in any written formal or informal document or communication, the source of the information must be clearly acknowledged.
9. In particular, THE RECIPIENT will put the results of the experiments at the disposal of THE OWNER in case THE OWNER should decide to use them either for the registration of a clone or to secure a plant variety right.
10. THE RECIPIENT will acknowledge the origin of THE MATERIAL in any official or informal publication of the results of the experiments.
11. THE RECIPIENT will destroy all that might be used for vegetative propagation of THE MATERIAL and will refrain from further propagation upon request by THE OWNER. The experiments already under way or already planned with no reasonable possibility to be altered will continue until their planned conclusion, before THE MATERIAL they include is destroyed.
12. No responsibility can be claimed by one signing party against the other for the execution of the present agreement, as far as each of them has fulfilled its own obligations.
Signature of THE OWNER
Signature of THE RECIPIENT
Made in three copies. One copy, duly signed by both parties will be kept by THE RECIPIENT, two by THE OWNER.
7.9.4 Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Widespread information nowadays about the endangered status of many prominent species, such as the tiger and elephants, might make the need for such a convention seem obvious. But at the time when the ideas for CITES were first formed, in the 1960s, international discussion of the regulation of wildlife trade for conservation purposes was something relatively new. With hindsight, the need for CITES is clear. Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.
Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). The text of the convention was finally agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington DC., United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force.
CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention ('joined' CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties - in other words they have to implement the Convention - it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to make sure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
Not one species protected by CITES has become extinct as a result of trade since the Convention entered into force and, for many years, CITES has been among the largest conservation agreements in existence, with now over 150 Parties"
7.9.5 Statement of Forest Principles
Text of the "The Non Legally Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests" can be found at the following webpublication:
Here you will find details of some links to help you locate material and providers of training. Many regional seed centres may be able to help provide support for training.
DFSC can help in with training that is carried out in the recipient country, and has a series of leaflets and lecture notes that are valuable resource material. For more information see ORGANISATIONS - DFSC
Bonner, F.T.; Vozzo, J.A.; Elam, W.W.; LAnd, S.B. Jr. 1994
General Technical Report, SO 106 September 1994
USDA Southern Forest Experimental Station.
The manual is intended primarily for training seed collectors, seed-plant managers, seed analysts, and nursery managers, but it can serve as a resource for any training course on forest regeneration. It includes both temperate and tropical tree species of all intended uses. Topics covered are: seed biology, seed collection, seed handling, seed-quality evaluation, seed protection; seed basics for nurseries, and seed programs.
CATIE undertake training in the Latin American region.
See ORGANISATIONS - CATIE
7.11 PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES
There are many projects and programmes worldwide that are concerned with forest reproductive material. Details of these will be included at a later date.
7.12 SEED CENTRES
Many regions and countries have established their own Tree Seed Centres. Details of these will be added as we obtain information about them. Normally, the best way to make contact will be through the Forestry Department of the relevant government Ministry.
Indonesia Forest Seed project
Seed Supply Advisor, Christian Pilegaard Hansen
Tel: +62 22 2035 112
Mobil +62 0811 24 5291
Centre National de Semences Forestieres (CNSF)
Lambert Georges OUEDRAOGO, Director,
01 BP 2682,
tel + 226 30 12 33 / 36 80 13
Fax: + 226 30 12 32
SADC Tree Seed Centre Network Project
The Tree Seed Centre Network Coordinator
Zimbabwe Forestry Commission
Research & Development Division
P O Box HG 595
National Tree Seed Centre (Morgoro)
PRONASEF – Projet national de semences forestières
Pronasef, Mbao Km 20, route de Rufisque
BP : 3818
Tel : (221)836 14 11
Fax : (221) 836 14 09
See ORGANISATIONS - CATIE
CSIRO - ATSC
See ORGANISATIONS - CSIRO - Australian Tree Seed Centre